JD reviews Ult Comics: THE ULTIMATES #4

TITLE: ULTIMATE COMICS THE ULTIMATES #4
WRITER: JONATHAN HICKMAN
ARTIST: ESAD RIBIC
COLORIST: DEAN WHITE
PUBLISHED BY MARVEL COMICS
REVIEWED BY JOHNNY DESTRUCTO

“I…wait, what? That was supposed to be a secret? I didn’t realize we weren’t supposed to know.”
That was my response when a co-worker at the comic shop asked if I had seen the “reveal” of who the Big Bad was supposed to be.

Some serious shit has gone DOWN these last few issues. Cap is gone, S.H.I.E.L.D. is F’d in the B, Asgard is all ‘sploded, the Gods are dead, and a thermonuclear explosion in Uruguay has killed millions. And it’s all the work of one man.

Hickman is very Grant Morrison-y in that he contains within his brain-meat the ability to work on the Big Ideas plain of comic-booking. Peep his Red Wing series and his current work on FF. Frankly, this book feels more like a Fantastic Four book than the sprawling, wide-screen Ultimates books of the past. It’s got action, believe you me, but it also tinkers with some of the super science aspects that Morrison is famous for. In fact, The City in this book feels similar to The World (a facility run by the Weapon Plus Project in Morrison’s New X-Men series) and maybe that’s why I immediately conjured thoughts of Grant. However, in The City, time moves at a much quicker pace than it does outside The City’s dome. This leads me to question how, if time is moving faster and over 1,000 years have passed in The City, then why is The Maker (our aforementioned “mysterious” bad guy) not getting older? He seems to be the same age as when last we saw him and my geek brain demands answers. I can assume that this is just “comic science” and doesn’t necessarily have to make sense, but I’m just going to make it up in my head that The Maker was outside of the City the entire time and was using an avatar to communicate with his creations. OH. Yes, I guess I should mention that contained within said City is an entire race of perfected humans that follow The Maker’s every whim, and daddy’s whim right now is to bitch-slap everyone.

I guess I won’t spoil the big reveal at the end, but really? Ever since the fella showed up on page one of issue one, I went “OK, there’s ____ ________ I wonder what’s he’s up to now”. Never once did it occur to me that it was going to be a revelation, and I’m not sure if that’s the “fault” of Asad Ribic or Hickman’s for designing a helmet that shows most of his face, or if it was just the fact that all this Big Science could be coming from only one person in the Ultimate Universe. I can’t be the only one, as I’m not that bright. Did you guys know who it was from the start?

I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t praise the outstanding work of Esad Ribic. I’ve loved his painted  comic work for years but it’s only recently that I’ve started to see his pencils gracing the interiors of a comic..I think with Uncanny X-Force? His work is just stellar and even if this story was ass, I would still buy it just to enjoy art inside. And much like they did in Uncanny X-Force, Dean White’s color work in here is subdued but fantastic.

At any rate, I’m enjoying the hell out of this book. It’s not the killer good time that the original Ultimates series was, but this is certainly a smarter book and fairly grandiose in it’s own right.

When not hosting the PopTards Podcast, fist-bumping his own nethers, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam here, JD is graphically designing/illustrating/inking for a living, hanging with the @$$holes over at www.aintitcoolnews.com and Booking his Face off over here. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on Party934.com alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.

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